A walking bus
is a group of schoolchildren who, chaperoned by two adults (a "Driver" leads and a "conductor" follows) walk to school, in much the same way a school bus
would drive them to school. Like a traditional bus, walking buses have a fixed route with designated "bus stops" and "pick up times" in which they pick up children.
The concept of the walking bus was invented in 1998 by Hertfordshire County Council and was first used at Wheatfields Junior School in St Albans,United Kingdom in 1998
Walking Buses have remained popular in the United Kingdom and have recently gained a level of popularity elsewhere in Europe, North America and New Zealand. Proponents of walking buses say that its aims are to:
- Encourage physical activity by teaching children the skills to walk safely, how to identify safe routes to school, and the benefits of walking
- Raise awareness of how walkable a community is and where improvements can be made
- Raise concern for the environment
- Reduce crime and take back neighbourhoods for people on foot
- Reduce traffic congestion, pollution, and speed near schools
- Share valuable time with local community leaders, parents, and children
In Auckland, New Zealand, as at November 2007, one hundred schools run 230 Walking School Buses with over 4,000 children and 1,500 adults participating.